During my senior year in high school, I was the goalie for our soccer team. I had tried to play football the two years earlier, got injured both years, and wasn’t all that good anyway, so some soccer friends talked me into playing soccer. I didn’t much know how to p lay goalie, but I was quick and aggressive. I figured that I ‘owned’ not just the goal, but the whole box and goal area. I did discover that if I played defensively, waiting on opponents to determine the action, I was sunk. As a team, we managed to set a shut-out record that year. (I had the worst game of my season the week after the paper reported the record and gave me credit. I’ll save that for the post about pride coming before a fall.)
Anyway, I don’t know if it’s really true in all sports, but I have accepted that maxim that “the best defense is a good offense.” That means, if you focus on the best outcomes rather than attempting to avoid the worst, then you will probably do better.
On Sunday I taught from 1 Peter 2:4-10, about how God gives us a new identify and a new purpose. He gives us the identity of ‘priests,’ that is, those with the incredible purpose to serve God and to serve the world.
Three things are to be true of priests. They are to be:
- Present to God
- Connected to One Another
- Engaged with the World
All three of those activities are pro-active, offense, scoring activities. They are not passive activities. And they are universal – to be true of everyone who has come to Christ. They are not exceptional activities for a few high-achievers.
I don’t know that enough Christians know what the offense is, how we score. Being a Christian is too often reduced to believing the right things, staying out of trouble, and avoiding those in trouble. That’s defensive living, and priests don’t live like that.
Here’s what happens to me when I live defensively. My problems, insecurities, and challenges set the agenda. They become so much larger than they really are, and they often gain the advantage.
If your problems win often enough – they become your identity. And, how fun that is.
But, the more you explore what it means to be a priest, actively on duty, everything begins to change. Struggling in a relationship? What happens when you serve that relationship as a priest? For one thing, you begin to seek God’s will in the relationship, rather than your own.
What about it? You going to run the offense? You’ll be beat until you do.